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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Farnbacher Fires Honda to Kyalami 9H Pole

Mario Farnbacher narrowly beats Bentley’s Jordan Pepper to final pole of season…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

Mario Farnbacher put Honda Racing on pole position for tomorrow’s Kyalami 9 Hour race by setting the fastest lap of the six-driver qualifying shootout.

Farnbacher set a time of 1:41.581 in the No. 30 Honda NSX GT3 Evo that he shares with Renger van der Zande and Bertrand Baguette, shortly after the three drivers combined for the best overall average during qualifying which decided the shootout participants.

It marked Honda’s second Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli pole position, adding to Farnbacher’s first place in the top-ten shootout for the 2019 California 8 Hours.

Kyalami debutant Farnbacher has been on impressive form so far this weekend, with the German driver setting the pace in Pre-Qualifying practice on Friday morning before posting the fastest individual lap times during both parts of the qualifying procedure.

Second on the grid for the 2020 IGTC season finale will be the No. 7 M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 which Jordan Pepper steered to a time of 1:41.723.

This put the South African driver 0.142 seconds short of the pole for Bentley’s final race with its factory driver lineup before the manufacturer winds down its GT3 program.

Pepper is sharing the No. 7 Bentley with his full-season IGTC co-drivers Maxime Soulet and Jules Gounon.

Sheldon van der Linde qualified third for Walkenhorst Motorsport with a time of 1:41.891 at the wheel of the German squad’s No. 34 BMW M6 GT3.

Despite making a late improvement, van der Linde couldn’t budge the top two and instead settled for a spot on the second row of the grid next to Audi Sport Team Car Collection driver Christopher Haase.

Haase’s 1:42.234 was six and a half tenths off the pole figure and will result in a fourth-place start for the No. 44 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo.

GPX Racing Porsche driver Matt Campbell came through in fifth on a 1:42.274, while David Pittard rounded out the top six in Walkenhorst’s No. 35 BMW with a time of 1:42.564.

Grid positions seven down to 12 were determined by the results of three-driver average qualifying.

The Kyalami 9 Hour is due to get underway tomorrow at 11 a.m. local time (4 a.m. ET).

RESULTS: Qualifying Shootout

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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